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2012 NFL Draft: New England Patriots Could Look For Defensive Help

With the 2011-12 season behind the New England Patriots culminating with a disappointing ending, it's time to glance forward towards free agency and the draft.

The combine is only a few weeks away and there are a few defensive players that Bill Belichick might be taking a very long look at.

It's been well documented that New England struggled mightily against the pass, ranking 31st in passing yards allowed. One way to fix that issue is obvious: draft a cornerback. However, the other way is improve the pass rush which will subsequently make the corners better.

Quinton Coples has the potential to be that type of disruptive force on the line. Coples likely won't fall all the way to 27th (the Pats first pick), but then again the draft is a strange animal. Belichick and co. have the picks to move up if they want which just adds another dimension.

Chandler Jones might be a better fit however. The defensive end doesn't as high of a ceiling according to most experts, but he could be around and not cost the Patriots a bevy of picks. Jones could be just what the doctor ordered for this defensive unit that's desperate to improve.

One great selection could put New England back on top in 2012. It'll be fascinating see who Belichick chooses.

For more Patriots news and notes, be sure to check out SB Nation Boston and Pats Pulpit.